Minister says Ben Wallace was ‘pretty cross’ about hoax Ukraine call
The UK defence minister was targeted by a hoax caller who managed to keep him on the line for around 10 minutes after he claimed he was the Ukrainian prime minister.
Ben Wallace revealed on Thursday that he received a call in which he was "posed several misleading questions" by someone pretending to be PM Denys Shmyhal, leading him to become "suspicious" and hang up.
"No amount of Russian disinformation, distortion and dirty tricks can distract from Russia’s human rights abuses and illegal invasion of Ukriane [sic]. A desperate attempt."
It is not immediately clear who was behind the call but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told the BBC that Wallace had ordered an immediate inquiry into what happened.
The broadcaster also reports a source told them it was a "fairly sophisticated" video call that came to Wallace via "another government department", which added to its credibility, and it is understood it lasted around ten minutes via Microsoft Teams.
The source also reportedly said Wallace was asked about Nato, Ukraine and Russia negotiations, whether the UK would send warships to the Black Sea, and if Ukraine should get nuclear weapons.
But reacting to it on social media, people thought it was pretty ridiculous that he had been duped. Rather than feeling concerned, though, they did what people do best and had a good old laugh at the politician's expense.
Well Ben, this isn\u2019t the first time this has happened. A few years ago an imposter tried to become leader of the Conservative party. He made a few calls, did a few deals and did a few favours. He\u2019s now in No 10 and still you lot don\u2019t appear to have noticed what a charlatan he is
— Baron Cowpat of Turdshire (@Baron Cowpat of Turdshire)
Admitting this on Twitter is possibly the dumbest thing I have seen since Twitter was invented https://twitter.com/BWallaceMP/status/1504486042048425988\u00a0\u2026
— Baker Street Herald: #I Stand With Ukraine (@Baker Street Herald: #I Stand With Ukraine)
Hi everybody, today the department you rely on for defence in troubled times got punked-
Jokes aside, it is not exactly reassuring news. The shadow Home Office minister, Holly Lynch, said: “For individuals to be able to fraudulently gain access to two of the most senior government ministers with responsibilities for our national defence is worrying.
“There are questions that need answering as to why the basics in due diligence appear not to have happened, especially at a time of heightened security concerns around disinformation and cyberattacks.
“An urgent investigation must look into how this happened so the necessary steps can be taken to avoid anymore such incidents.”
Meanwhile, the real Shmyhal reacted to the news by giving Wallace some advice:
Next time, Mr. Minister @BWallaceMP, ask to say the word "palianytsia\u201d before you will start the conversation. Despite all attempts of Russian disinformation, the world can see that the truth is behind #Ukraine.https://twitter.com/BWallaceMP/status/1504486042048425988\u00a0\u2026
Don't worry though, because armed Forces Minister James Heappey said that Wallace was “very cross” as it should not have been allowed to happen and squashed concerns about security risks, saying he understood Wallace had "a pretty bland" call with the hoaxer.
"He would not ever disclose any sensitive details on a platform that can be very intercepted," he explained and said as soon as the caller started asking questions about Britain's military intentions he became "suspicious" and "terminated the call".
Great. Expect Wallace is not the only minister who has been targeted. Home secretary Priti Patel revealed she received a similar call earlier this week.
This also happened to me earlier this week. Pathetic attempt at such difficult times to divide us. We stand with Ukraine.https://twitter.com/bwallacemp/status/1504486042048425988\u00a0\u2026
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